From Recovery to Max Reps: Diets for Different Fitness Goals

Everyone has a fitness goal, whether it is to recover from an injury, bulk up, lose weight, prevent injury, or prepare for a big game or tournament. Along with this variation of goals is a variance of not only training methodologies but also diets. This simply means that there is a particular diet that is best for each fitness goal. Here, we’ll look at four diets for four fitness goals.

Diet for Average Joe Fitness

For the Average Joe who wants to be fit, the key is a balanced diet. This means getting a healthy mix of food which is rich in protein, like chicken, beef and fish and food rich in vitamins and minerals such as vegetables and fruit. Carbohydrates must be kept at a minimum, so steer clear of sweet and sugary stuff as much as possible.

Diet for Injury Recovery

For injury recovery, what you eat can make a lot of difference. Take the case of muscle injuries, for instance, like a pulled hamstring, a strained calf, or a torn bicep. Men’s Journal recommends an increased intake of potassium and protein-rich food. Additionally, you’ll need anthocyanin and omega-3 fats to reduce inflammation. Food rich in vitamins C and K, on the other hand, can help bruises heal more quickly, with the former shoring up the blood vessels and the latter helping prevent blood clots. For bone injuries calcium is a necessity and dairy products and leafy greens are good sources of it. Remember that you need to get enough of this mineral whether you are injured or not as it (along with vitamin D) helps strengthen your bones

Diet for Weight Loss

You don’t have to starve yourself to lose weight; on the contrary, letting yourself go hungry is counterintuitive to any weight loss endeavor. What you should do instead is to follow Healthline’s healthy and science-based diet for losing weight. The key here is cutting back on sugars and starches to help reduce your hunger. In turn, you will consume less, which then means fewer calories. In case you’ve forgotten, you can only lose weight if you burn more calories than you take in. Cutting back on the carbs also lowers your insulin levels and this allows your kidneys to function better and shed excess sodium and water. Next, you’ll have to ensure that each of your meals includes proteins, fats and veggies. Protein is especially vital as it boosts your metabolism and reduces cravings. This diet can only work in conjunction with regular exercise.

Diet for Athletic Excellence

LeBron James is arguably the embodiment of fitness and his sustained excellence is proof of that. His training regimen is intense, and he complements it with a strict diet. Recently, Business Insider published a feature on what James regularly eats. Breakfast is an acai bowl plus a protein bar or the usual French toast-bacon-omelette combo (or just Fruity Pebbles on occasion). Lunch and dinner are a healthy mix of protein sources (grilled chicken, salmon, etc.) and vegetables. The Akron, Ohio native is known to indulge, though, from time to time, but he more than makes up for those rare moments of indulgence by working hard and investing in his body.

This is LeBron James. Considered the greatest NBA player of all time, James has extraordinary career averages including 27.2 points per game, 7.4 rebounds, and 7.2 assists. James is a three-time NBA champion and will be hoping for more success at the LA Lakers.

As we noted in our June discussion about James’s seeming immunity from injury, the 33-year-old spends millions to keep himself in the perfect condition and that means, among other things, regular cryotherapy and hyperbaric sessions. James is second on the Ladbrokes list of the highest paid sports stars, with an annual haul of $79 million, give or take. With such great resources at his disposal, he can obviously afford anything that will keep him in elite condition. Yet the backbone of his world-class fitness is still this potent combo of hard work and a healthy diet. In case you need any more convincing that the James way works, consider that he is already in year 16 of an already Hall-of-Fame career and he isn’t slowing down just yet.

Lastly, we’ll end with a reminder to never take fluids for granted. In other words, drink lots of water to stay hydrated and minimize cramps. For intense activities that last for an hour or more, consider consuming drinks with electrolytes to replenish all the sodium, potassium and chloride you lost.

Blog post specially prepared for Sports Medicine Weekly by Felicity Dawson

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What’s in your tap water? – filter for optimal health!

By Karen Malkin – Karen Malkin Health Counselsing

Water is the driving force of all nature.” — Leonardo DaVinci

Did you know that nearly all the major systems in your body depend on water?

Water moistens sensitive tissues, lubricates joints, protects organs, regulates body temperature, helps dissolve minerals to make them accessible to your body, carries nutrients and oxygen to cells and lessens the burden on the kidney and liver by flushing out waste. That’s why it’s so important to stay hydrated! As a reminder, your daily requirement is half your body weight in ounces.

Your Water Source
It’s tempting to drink straight from your tap, but is the water safe? To make it easier to understand exactly what’s in your water, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has pulled together a comprehensive database of drinking water quality reports by zip code. Click here to find the results for your area.

According to the EWG’s study, “The vast majority of the nation’s drinking water supplies get a passing grade from federal and state regulatory agencies. However, many of the 250-plus contaminants detected through water sampling and testing are at levels that are perfectly legal under the Safe Drinking Water Act or state regulations, but well above levels authoritative scientific studies have found to pose health risks.”(1) This is where we can take action.

Greater Chicago Water Contaminants

For our greater Chicago area (I pulled the results for the north shore areas) and 10 contaminants were shown to be present at levels higher than what’s considered safe.

  • Arsenic

  • Bromodichloromethane

  • Chloroform

  • Chromium (hexavalent)

  • Dibromochloromethane

  • Dichloroacetic acid

  • Radiological contaminants

  • Total trihalomethanes (TTHMs)

  • Trichloroacetic acid

  • Hormones

Of these contaminants, I’d like to focus on chromium-6 or hexavalent chromium. It’s naturally occurring, but mostly a chemical byproduct of industry. Made notorious by the film “Erin Brockovich,” hexavalent chromium is unregulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act. California state scientists have established a level at which this chemical poses a negligible risk of cancer for people who drink it daily for a lifetime.(2) It has been detected in levels HIGHER than that in drinking water supplies for more than 250 million Americans in all 50 states. This is alarming.

Fortunately, there are ways to clean this up so you can safeguard your health. As part of the study, the EWG has provided suggestions for specific filters—across all price ranges from simple pitches to whole-home systems—that pull out specific contaminants found in your tap water.

Here are a few filter options to pull out hexavalent chromium from your tap water.

PITCHERZeroWater 8-Cup Stainless Steel Pitcher

  • Uses ion exchange and granular activated carbon

  • Only pitcher certified by NSF to reduce both lead and chromium

  • BPA free

  • TDS (total dissolved solids) meter that provides a digital reading so you know when it is time to change your filter

DISPENSERZeroWater 23-Cup Dispenser 

  • Uses ion exchange and granular activated carbon

  • Only pitcher certified by NSF to reduce both lead and chromium

  • BPA free

  • TDS (total dissolved solids) meter that provides a digital reading so you know when it is time to change your filter

  • One-handed “push to dispense” spout to fill any bottle or cup

PLUMBED-IN, SEPARATE TAPMicroline Reverse Osmosis System TFC-435

  • Uses reverse osmosis and granular activated carbon

  • Up to 35 gallons per day

  • NSF Standard 58 Certified System

  • 4-stage TFC (thin film composite) performance

  • Comes with 1 free set of replacement filters

PLUMBED IN: Whether or not your water is harmful of helpful depends on what’s in it. Distillers and reverse osmosis systems come the closest to removing most contaminants. If you are on public water, call your water provider and ask for the Annual Consumer Confidence Report which will contain a list of regulated contaminants in your water.

For public/municipal water supplies, pay attention to what is intentionally put into your water to disinfect it for you. Numerous contaminants naturally occur in well water. If you are on a well, it’s important to have your water independently tested for contaminants. Know the contaminants in your specific water, and find filters that remove them. Download Environmental Working Group’s water filter guide here.

For a list of 70+ more filters that take out hexavalent chromium, click here.


Karen’s Corner 

SAVE THE DATE: Please join me me on Wednesday, April 18th at The Four Seasons Chicago! Keynote, Tieraona-Low Don, MD, will speak on her latest book “Life is Your best Medicine”! I am chairing this event and created an anti-inflammatory menu with the chef. The food will be amazing! Click here for tickets or reach out to me directly by replying to this e-mail. Join me in supporting my mission to help change the way we practice medicine by supporting the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Northwestern Medicine.

MUST SEE DOCUMENTARY: I sponsored a documentary film at Sundance Film Festival, The Devil We Know, unraveling one of the biggest environmental scandals of our time, a group of citizens in West Virginia take on a powerful corporation after they discover it has knowingly been dumping a toxic chemical- PFOA- into the water supply. PFOA is found in the blood of 99.7% of Americans and used to make Teflon, Gortex, Scotchguard, and many other products.

Are you looking to reduce your toxic load with a metabolism re-set this Spring? Sign up for one of my 14 Day Transformation programs here:

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The Olympic Experience with Dara Torres; Clinical Trials & Research; Benefits of Coconut Water

Episode 17.33 Rerun

Segment One (01:40): Dr. Nik Verma sits in for Dr. Brian Cole, with Steve Kashul and talks with Dara Torres, 5 Time Olympian Swimmer/12 time Medalist. Dara talks about her competition experience and training routines over the years.

Dara Torres is arguably the fastest female swimmer in America. She entered her first international swimming competition at age 14 and competed in her first Olympic Games a few years later in 1984.

At the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008, Dara became the oldest swimmer to compete in the Olympic Games. When she took three silver medals home – including the infamous heartbreaking 50-meter freestyle race where she missed the Gold by 1/100th of a second – America loved her all the more for her astonishing achievement and her good-natured acceptance of the results.


In total, Dara has competed in five Olympic Games and has won 12 medals in her entire Olympic career. Her impressive performance in Beijing and her attempt at the 2012 London Olympic Games has inspired many older athletes to consider re-entering competition.

Career Highlights

  • 2009 U.S. Nationals Gold Medalist in 50m Freestyle
  • 2009 World Championships (8th 50m Freestyle, 4th 4×100 Freestyle)
  • Five-Time Olympian; 12-Time Medalist
  • First U.S. swimmer to compete in 5 Olympics
  • U.S. Record Holder in 50m Freestyle
  • Broadcast: NBC, ABC, NBC, ESPN & more.

Segment Two (13:18): Dr. Nik Verma talks with Steve about the importance of clinical trials and research, translational research, current studies in biologics and the use of stem cells. Currently, Dr. Verma maintains an active clinical practice performing over 500 procedures per year. He is Director of the Division of Sports Medicine and Director of the Sports Medicine Fellowship Program. In addition, he serves as a team physician for the Chicago White Sox and Chicago Bulls, and Nazareth Academy.nikhil verma

In addition to his clinical practice, Dr. Verma is actively involved in orthopedic research with interests in basic science, biomechanics and clinical outcomes, and has recently received funding for his work from Major League Baseball.

He has authored multiple peer-reviewed manuscripts in major orthopedic and sports medicine journals, numerous book chapters, and routinely serves as teaching faculty for orthopedic courses on advanced surgical techniques. He frequently serves as an invited speaker or guest surgeon for national and international orthopedic sports medicine meetings.

Segment Three (19:07): Scott Sandler, President & CEO of COCO5 talks about the benefits of coconut water for professional athletes and weekend warriors & how COCO5 Coconut Water differs from other hydration products.


COCO5 combines the powerful hydrating properties of young coconut water with all natural flavors to create a hydration beverage perfect for any time of day or night. Clean, refreshing and brilliantly delicious. Nothing artificial. Ever.

COCO5 replenishes the body with all 5 essential electrolytes your body needs. Magnesium, Sodium, Potassium, Chloride and Calcium.

  1. Eliminate chemical additives, dyes and high fructose corn syrup found in leading fluid replacement beverages. 
  2. Replace fluids lost through sweat.
  3. Restore electrolytes depleted during exercise.
  4. Reduce cramping and gastric distress often experienced with conventional sports drinks.
  • All Natural ingredients
  • Benefits come from coconut water, not artificially added ingredients or chemicals
  • Unlike other hydration drinks, the electrolytes in COCO5 are naturally occurring (sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, chloride and small amounts of other nutrients)
  • Colors and flavors are from natural fruits and vegetables
  • No artificial dyes (i.e., Red40, Bluel, Yellow5)
  • No artificial sweeteners. Stevia (Rebiana) is used as a sweetener from a plant (no artificial sweeteners such as Sucralose, Aspartame or Acesulfame potassium as found in other hydration drinks)
  • Maximum absorption due to the balance of carbohydrates and electrolytes
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Self-Love and Your Health

By Karen Malkin from Karen Malkin Health Counseling 

It’s easy to get swept up in all things love. But do you ever really think about love in the context of yourself? If not, it’s time to get selfish, because the love you show yourself is the greatest form of self-care and also what will keep you healthy (and happy) in the long run.

The benefits of this form of self-care or self-compassion are clear. According to Emma Seppala, Ph.D., Associate Director of Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism, making the effort to nourish your body, mind, and soul with love can lead to:

  • increased inner strength,
  • increased productivity,
  • and decreased stress.

In addition, research out of Wake Forest University about the effects of self-compassion on eating habits shows that women who gave themselves permission to occasionally indulge were less likely to overeat than those who relentlessly beat themselves up over any indulgence.

It may seem frivolous, but self-care is not something to take lightly. You can reap the wellness benefits by focusing on yourself in these important ways:

Love Yourself — Start by being less critical of yourself. Silence the inner voice in your head that tells you are not good enough… smart enough… rich enough… thin enough…. Become aware of when your inner voice launches into her harsh critique, and try to reframe the dialogue so that it’s more caring. This will take some time, but the goal is for that voice to be as loving as it would be if you were talking with a dear friend.

Takeaway: You don’t have to love your extra weight, but you need to love the person who has the extra weight.

Feed Yourself — An important physical form of nourishment comes from the foods you choose to feed your body. A loving attitude towards yourself makes you want to fill your plate with that which make you feel energized and clear-headed (whole foods, organic fruit and vegetables, and healthy fats) as opposed to that which leave you feeling drained, spacey, and hungry for more (fast food, processed food, and fried food). Something as simple as staying properly hydrated can be a powerful signal to your body that you care.

Takeaway: Filling your tank with healthful whole foods is a radical form of self-love.

Time for Yourself — Are you are a mom juggling the needs of your family? Or are you a busy executive, giving 110% to your job? Or maybe both of these roles fit? If so, one of the most important things you can do is carve out time each week for you—and you alone. That means that during that timeframe, everyone else’s needs take a backseat to yours. Whether you schedule a massage, sink into a great book, take a walk with a friend, or simply do nothing, you’ll find that prioritizing yourself in this way provides the perfect opportunity to recharge your batteries.

Takeaway: You show up in the world in a much more meaningful way when you take time to prioritize yourself.

When it comes to taking time for yourself, I invite you to join our 14 Day Transformation Cleanse, which features two full weeks of eating nourishing whole foods as well as wellness supplies and direct support from me. During that time, you can expect to feel more energetic, mentally clear, better able to sleep, and more! Why not give yourself the ultimate gift of self-love? Sign up today here.

To your good health,



As many of you may know, earlier this year, I joined the board of the Environmental Working Group (EWG). I couldn’t be more proud of the work we’re undertaking. As a consumer advocacy group focusing on (and fighting for) getting potentially harmful chemicals out of the food we eat and the products we use, I’m able to make a bigger impact with the causes that are close to my heart. Back in October 2017, I attended a two-day board meeting in Washington DC, and we also spent a day lobbying on Capitol Hill in support of the Organic Farm Bill. This year I will be dedicating more of my energy to this advocacy work with the goal of building a healthier world with integrative medicine at its core.

If you want to work with me 1:1, I will still be taking clients, but will be limiting my in-person sessions and shifting to a mix of Skype/FaceTime/phone and office visits. I also highly recommend my 14 Day Transformation programs as a self-guided alternative. For more information:

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